Little SisterArtist: Rufus Wainwright
Album: Want Two
Hanamaru Kindergarten can get tiresome at times, but only when it’s about Satsuki, Tsuchida’s younger sister. What is it with her that actually prompts her to get on my nerves? Her performance is horribly overwrought to a point I never thought possible. Why’s that so? She’s too damned self-aware is what.
Satsuki is, after all, everything bemoaned about anime and manga, to some lesser extent. The imouto archetype is now a stereotype, a cliché, and maybe good for a few weak laughs after which its status is relegated to that of a running joke gone stale, a dead horse, or even that cruel joke you bring up at parties to gain laughs at the expense of a friend.
What really bears mention, though, is that the archetype has a reasonably realistic basis for its conception. Those of you with little sisters should already know this, but most, if not all of them grow up and lose the attachment they have to their older brothers once they hit puberty, a far cry from their behaviour before that.
The now-overused stereotype specifically addresses this point, artificially elongating the period of dependence and closeness of the little sister to the point where it seems outright unnatural to those not well-versed in its pseudo-/incestuous connotations, which brings me back to Satsuki—she is irking in the same way that movies whose plot you can predict without having set foot in the theatre are irksome.
Ultimately, it all boils down to how much self-awareness you can tolerate in a given work. My tolerance varies from work to work, and while I was able to accept preternaturally mature preschoolers or unnaturally dense teachers, Satsuki just left a bad taste in the mouth through how she seemed so determined to stick to the book. It’s nothing I hadn’t seen before, but frankly, when you’ve seen this much anime (almost close to 200 series completed), you tend to long for more than just the basics.